Giant Black Hole More Giant Than Thought

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We've told you before about the black hole at the heart of the M87 galaxy that's brighter than its galaxy... but now scientists have discovered that it may be larger - and more available to us - than originally thought.

New analysis performed by Thomas Jens of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany and the University of Texas' Karl Gebhardt has estimated the mass of the black hole as equivalent to 6.4 billion suns, twice the original size it was thought to be. This, according the New Scientist, might be a good thing for science:

M87's black hole, when viewed from Earth, would be the same apparent size as the nearer black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. This puts M87's hole within reach of radio astronomy techniques that measure a black hole directly, by tracing its dark silhouette against the glow of surrounding gas.


I admit, finding out that a unreasonably big black hole is actually twice as unreasonably big as previously thought does strike me as something that isn't a very good thing to discover. However, if nothing else, the last ten words of that last sentence has given me the name of my new prog rock project.

Mega black hole twice as big as we thought [New Scientist]